‘Orange Is The New Black’ Actress Jessica Pimentel’s Metal Alter Ego

Though Jessica Pimentel’s breakout in the entertainment industry came with her role as Maria Ruiz in ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ the actress has also been active in the music scene for years.

Beginning with classical instruments such as the violin in her early life, Pimentel’s musical path shifted towards heavier genres over time. After giving concerts in many places, including Carnegie Hall, she kicked off a career in metal music at some point.

She explained the change in her taste during an interview with Thrillist in 2016:

“I had heard Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, and Mötley Crüe on the radio and liked it, but people would say, ‘Oh, that’s sellout stuff. Listen to this!’ My friend’s older brother handed me King Diamond‘s ‘Conspiracy.’ That was the heaviest, most intense music I ever heard in my life — it scared me so much that at the age of 12, I was afraid of demons lurking in my closet. I kept exploring metal: when I found Slayer, I was very afraid, like I’ve gone too far and really am going to hell.”

The ‘Orange Is the New Black’ actress worked with many metal bands throughout the years. She played as the heavy metal band Desolate’s bassist between 2010-2014.

Around the same year, the singer also joined her current group Alekhine’s Gun, to become their lead vocalist. In her 2016 chat, she revealed that Gun had a special place for her by saying:

“Alekhine’s Gun is my favorite band I’ve ever been in. We started in 2009, and it’s very personal — this is the first time I got to create my own thing in a band. I came up with the name because I’m a dork and I love chess, and I also felt that this music could convey a special message to an audience, and the best way to connect with an audience sometimes is to get down there and look in their eyes.”

The frontwoman, who released three EPs with the band, also mentioned the themes of their records and added:

“I’m a practicing Buddhist, and so the subject matter of the songs is holy along those lines. I think hard about every word that I’m going to say, and I do visualizations before I write, and I do a special meditation called the Seven Wisdoms, where I ask that my words be the catalyst of someone’s enlightenment. I’m not writing, ‘Let’s party!'”

Although Alekhine’s Gun has a hard time with live performances due to Pimentel’s acting career, it keeps working on recorded material. The band launched its latest EP, ‘Year of the Lazarus,’ in 2020.

You can listen to it below.